Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 12, 2018 (SKNIS): Congratulatory messages were sent to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis on its recent accession to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Benefit Sharing (ABS).

Dr. Cristiana Paşca Palmer, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, noted how pleased she was with St. Kitts and Nevis for making the bold move.

“This is great news for Saint Kitts and Nevis and for the Nagoya Protocol. This accession demonstrates a growing commitment by Caribbean countries to the Nagoya Protocol and will enable Saint Kitts and Nevis to fully benefit from the value of their genetic resources,” said Dr. Palmer. “I encourage other countries in the region to follow suit and ratify the Nagoya Protocol in the coming months prior to the third meeting of the Parties in Egypt, in November.”

In a congratulatory letter Dr. Palmer expressed thanks and appreciation to St. Kitts and Nevis for its continued cooperation and support for the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol.

Congratulations also poured out from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (IUCN-ORMACC). Both organizations expressed the importance of the Nagoya Protocol.

“This is an important step to ensuring the creation of the national, legal and institutional environment necessary for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge of St. Kitts and Nevis. The implementation of the Protocol will enhance social, cultural and economic benefits to local communities and human well-being,” stated Dr. Grethel Aguilar, Regional Director of IUCN-ORMACC. “Congratulations once again to the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis as we thank you for the opportunity to celebrate this milestone with you.”

Officials from the OECS Commission urged the remaining member states to adopt the necessary policies and laws that support a functioning ABS system.

“The OECS Commission encourages member states to accede to the Nagoya Protocol on ABS as a means of transformation and resilience of our small economies. Accession to the Protocol presents an opportunity for the region to adequately address this issue and to contribute to the sustainable use of these resources, to support of livelihoods, and to overall economic development.

The OECS Commission further articulated its readiness to provide support to member states to help facilitate this process in the region.

According to Eavin Parry, Environmental Scientist in the Department of Environment and ABS National Focal Point, “the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis welcomes the kind remarks expressed, as well as the continued support and collaboration extended by our regional and international partners and therefore use this opportunity to affirm our commitment to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol at the national level”.

St. Kitts and Nevis joins Antigua and Barbuda as the second OECS Member State to become party to the Protocol.